Sunday, November 19, 2017

How much does it cost for a hospital to treat a patient?

I am about to make some statements that are going to change the way you think about health care and health costs. Please try to remain calm.


I want you to imagine your local hospital. Think of all the doctors, nurses, support staff, buildings, and equipment.

Now, let's pretend two things:

1. That over the course of a single year, the total salaries for all the doctors, nurses and staff, the cost of all the utilities and supplies needed to operate the building totals $50,000,000. Now let's say that I GIVE that $50,000,000 to the hospital.

2. Let's assume that on Monday, November 20th, the hospital has NOT ONE SINGLE patient.



In this situation, the doctors and nurses, the staff and the utilities, all still get paid. The lights are one, the heat is working, they are all ready to work....but NO ONE shows up and all their beds are empty.



$50,000,000 divided by 364 days is $137,263 a day. So, without a single patient in the house, it cost $137,263 to have all the doctors, nurses, staff and utilities ready.....but no one showed up.



Now....it is Tuesday, November 21st.

And ONE patient shows up. Gets some xrays, gets sling and one pain pill and sent on their way.

HOW MUCH DID IT COST FOR THE HOSPITAL TO TREAT THAT ONE PATIENT?




Ignoring the sling and pain pill, the answer is ZERO.

What about a 2nd patient? Still zero for two.

Nominally, except supplies, it doesn't matter how many patients the hospital gets, the incremental cost is zero.


This is the argument FOR single payer health care. It is also it's failure.